Summary: Noah. Moses. Ezra. Nehemiah. What did these four men have in common? They were building an invisible Kingdom, and nothing was going to stop them from accomplishing that task.
THE KINGDOM #2: BUILDING THE KINGDOM
OPENING TEXT: Discuss building metaphor in the Scriptures.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
• Jesus said, “I will build My church.” (Matt. 16:18).
THE BIG IDEA: Noah. Moses. Ezra. Nehemiah. What did these four men have in common? They were building an invisible Kingdom, and nothing was going to stop them from accomplishing that task. What did they see and know - that gave them the passion to build, when others around them had doubts, got discouraged, or wanted to give up?
• Let’s consider this theme in the lives of these four Bible heroes…
BUILDER #1: NOAH:
• The world was in a messed up state: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Gen. 6:11). Sounds a lot like today’s world!
• God said to Noah: “Build yourself an ark of gopherwood.” (v.14).
• God wasn’t just telling Noah to build a boat: “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark--you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (v.18).
• But even though the people no doubt mocked Noah, he kept building. Why? He knew he wasn’t just building a boat. He was building something to save people’s lives.
• He would say, “I’m building something, something that’s bigger than me!”
• The Bible tells us that God “saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5).
• Noah was preaching righteousness, but the people did not respond and change their lives!
• Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt. 24:37).
BUILDER #2: MOSES:
• When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land:
• “And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, "This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord… All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded” (Ex. 35:4-5).
• Moses called for all the people who were willing to help build the temple – by giving offerings, and giving of their talents.
• “1 And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded." 2 Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. 3 And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. 4 Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, 5 and they spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do." 6 So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done--indeed too much.” (Ex. 36:1-7).
• Wow! What an amazing building project! “Freewill” offerings!
• If you were to ask them why they were giving: They would say, “We’re building something, something that’s bigger than us! We’re building the Kingdom!”
BUILDER #3: EZRA:
• “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:2-3).